After two Spiegel best-selling books exploring the quirks of German culture, I find I've become somewhat of a pundit for German life. Unsure about my position, and with severe doubts about my expertise, I decided to take on a series of integration challenges. Unfortunately, the vast majority go horribly wrong. Readers will learn:
What happens when someone of no musical talent creates a Schlager song.
Why you shouldn't accept a ride from a Mitfahrgelegenheitvan containing a mattress and a cat with one eye.
What watching seventy hours of German TV in a week does to your health (and faith in humanity).
How to really annoy a Beamte.
Why it's not a good idea to Nordic Walk through Ballermann 6, Mallorca.
Why you shouldn't attend a Schützenfest if you can neither drink nor march.
Make Me German is a 400 page, half English, half German book. Perfect for both language learning Ausländers and international Germans. Lovingly written, with a lot of humour, and avoiding the usual national clichés, I recount my adventures of trying to become German. On the way, I reaffirm why this country and its inhabitants have such a special place in my heart.
Just some of the highlights from the book:
Want to read some sample content? No problem. Here you can read selected excerpts from four of the book's chapters.
You see, expats get to experience a unique phenomenon, called The Foreigner Bonus Vision. This is like a magic pair of glasses, which we wear each day of our foreign existence. Through its special lenses, we get to peer out at a more interesting, colourful and exotic world. A foreign world...
"So, what's our song going to be about?" I asked.
"Well, you're the guy who writes nice things about Germany, right?"
“Germans are desperate for that moment when they can sing patriotically about Germany again. For a big sing-along Deutsch-land, Deutsch-land. But they’re not allowed to do it.”
"As a foreigner, I'm allowed to..."
“Adam, be more like a bird,” came the instruction that momentarily distracted me from my own total and all consuming self-consciousness.
“Float along, poles more behind you, like this. Pump up your feet with each step. Do you see? Step. Pump. Step. Pump. Flügel. Flügel. Glide.”
I tried. Really I tried. But rhythm is not something with which I am blessed. Unlike self-consciousness, which I have in spades and really wished I hadn't at this moment.
“To recap,” I said. “You enter a shooting contest. If you win, your prize is the chance to spend thirty thousand euro buying people beer and schnapps for an entire year?”
“Yep. It’s tradition. Traditions rarely make sense.”
“If that’s the star prize, I’d hate to think what they do to the people who come second or third. Presumably they just take them off somewhere and shoot them?”
“Yeah, or maybe they are forced to take part in the flag waving contest. So, anyway, are you in?"
"You had me at shooting contest..."
Make Me German is the third book in the Germany series. All three are Spiegel best-sellers.
A love letter to German culture/p>
Released July 2013 by C.H.Beck
More than 85k copies sold
An Ausländer's quest for integration
8 funny challenges
400 pages, Dual-language
Mixture of long and short form content
How German are you Quiz
Released Jan 2015 by Ullstein
A love letter to the German language
Released July 2014 by Ullstein Verlag
Want to interview me about the book? Want to me to come and do a reading from it? Want to tell me just how terrible that Schlager song is? No problem. Use the form below.